Women’s Equality Day with guest speakers Gloria Allred & Lisa Bloom

The Women’s Film Institute is proud to co-sponsor the West Hollywood City Council and the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board for an empowering and inspirational event commemorating the 95th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. The celebration will feature an address by special guest speakers Gloria Allred,  Attorney, Women’s and Civil Rights Activist and founding partner of Allred, Maroko & Goldenberg (AM&G) and Lisa Bloom, Attorney, NBC News Legal Analyst, and founding partner of The Bloom Firm.  The event will also include featured video shorts, a raffle, and an interactive photobooth and be followed by a reception. The Women’s Film Institute is proud to co-present the following short films at the event:

Syria: Brides of Peace – In the early days of Syria’s uprising, sisters Kinda and Lubna Zaour walked through the main souk in Damascus dressed as brides, a symbol of love, and carried banners calling for peace. They were arrested almost immediately. Upon their release, each sister became a bride once again under circumstances that also called for tremendous bravery: in the midst of a sectarian war and despite death threats from their extended family, both married outside of their religion.

Miss Todd‘ is a short, animated musical about the first woman in the world to build and design an airplane, made at the National Film and Television School, England.

The event is FREE and OPEN to the public! Register Now: http://conta.cc/1HEOShy


Women's Equality Day - Event Los Angeles 8_26_2015

Subscribe in a reader

NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab at ARC (Artist Retreat Center)

logo-colorNALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab at ARC (Artist Retreat Center)
Selected Fellows will be invited to the Vermont ARC (Artist Retreat Center) OCT. 3-11 where 8-12 diverse women filmmakers will workshop their documentaries, narrative scripts, or digital projects with distinguished mentors. Within this supportive environment, fellows present their work, participate in focused mentoring sessions, and connect and network for support and project accountability, creating a growing community of artists working together to increase their own successful project completion, and to raise the voices and success rate of women of color filmmakers in the media industry. Application deadline: August 17, 2015 Apply here: http://www.nalip.org/theresidencyutm_campaign=nl_july31_15&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nalip

Subscribe in a reader

Reese Witherspoon & Bruna Papandrea’s Pacific Standard Inks ABC Studios Deal


_78194894_reesewitherspoongettyReese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s production company Pacific Standard has signed a two year an exclusive broadcast deal with Executive Vice President, ABC Studios Patrick Moran. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Patrick and his team at ABC Studios, a company who genuinely share our goal of creating great roles for women, ” Witherspoon and Papandrea said.

Subscribe in a reader

ITVS Digital Open Call

ITVS_logo_RGB_400x400The Digital Open Call is a new initiative. Please read all application requirements carefully. Please be sure to read the How To Apply page for details

The Digital Open Call provides up to $50,000 in R&D funding to develop and pilot digital series concepts on any subject, and from any viewpoint, for public media’s digital platforms. Projects must be in development, and cannot have begun principal production. The Digital Open Call funding is only available to independent producers who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and its external territories. Carefully review the full eligibility criteria before beginning an application.


Subscribe in a reader

The doc that the Washington Post deemed “too radical, too weird and too far ahead of its time for any distributor to touch” has finally resurfaced!

Year of the Woman from Year Of The Woman on Vimeo.

In the fall of 1973, a documentary following women’s rights proponents at the 1972 Democratic Convention played at a small Greenwich Village theater to crowds wrapping around the block. But after a limited run, the film disappeared for more than 40 years. Now, thanks to Huffington Post reporter Rebecca Traister, this doc that the Washington Post deemed “too radical, too weird and too far ahead of its time for any distributor to touch” has finally resurfaced.

The Year of the Woman was shot by an all-female crew including Barbara Koppel, Claudia Weill, Martha Coolidge and more, and captures the likes of Coretta Scott King, Shirley MacClaine, and other well-known feminist leaders of the 70s. Together, these talented and ambitious young women provide us with an extraordinary lens through which we may examine this upcoming election when a woman, rather than seeking leverage from male candidates, may actually *be* the candidate. Watch the film now, only on Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/yearofthewoman

Read more about its incarnation and miraculous comeback; highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/lets-go-full-crocodile-ladies/

Subscribe in a reader

Seven New ‘Twilight’ Shorts Directed by Female Filmmakers Keep the Franchise Alive

cdn.indiewireThis Monday, the seven finalists in a “Twilight” short film competition presented their work to a theater full of fans and industry insiders.

Back in October of 2014, Lionsgate, the studio behind the film series, and Stephenie Meyer, who, of course, wrote the “Twilight” novels, announced that the franchise was very much alive. The most exciting part of this news, in our world at least, was that female directorial hopefuls would be chosen to make the short films, based on “Twilight” characters, that would serve to keep the female-driven franchise going.

The competition, borne of a collaboration between Meyer, Lionsgate, Women in Film and the crowdsourcing program Tongal, received 1,300 script submissions. 150 directors pitched to direct (Written by Laura Berger of Women & Hollywood). Read more: http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/seven-new-twilight-shorts-directed-by-female-filmmakers-keep-the-franchise-alive-20150716

Subscribe in a reader

Ava DuVernay’s Advice: Ask for what you want!

Ava DuVernay is best known as the director of Selma, her film account of the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As #BlogHer15 drew to a close, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood Melissa Silverstein sat down with Ava in a fireside chat. On the agenda: the intersection of race, gender, art and history.


Subscribe in a reader

Angelina Jolie Will Direct A Netflix Film About The Khmer Rouge

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15:  Actress-director Angelina Jolie attends the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 15: Actress-director Angelina Jolie attends the 20th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


Angelina Jolie is joining Brad Pitt to reinvent Netflix for the big screen.

The streaming service, which is delving into original feature film development, announced their partnership with Jolie on Thursday night. The actress-filmmaker will direct an adaptation of the 2000 memoir First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. Written by Loung Ung, a human rights activist and Cambodian author, the memoir tells her story of surviving the Khmer Rouge regime after she was separated from her family and trained as a child soldier in 1975 during the Cambodian Genocide.

Jolie and Ung met in Cambodia in 2001 and the actress said the memoir changed her understanding of children’s experience of war. “Films like this are hard to watch but important to see,” Jolie said in a press release. “They are also hard to get made. Netflix is making this possible, and I am looking forward to working with them and excited that the film will reach so many people.” Jolie’s 13-year-old Cambodian-born son, Maddox, will also be involved in the film. The adpatation, which will be available to stream in late 2016, will begin production ahead of Jolie’s upcoming film with husband Pitt, “Africa,” which has been postponed to finalize the script. (Written by Erin Whitney -Associate Entertainment Editor for The Huffington Post): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/angelina-jolie-netflix-film-cambodia_55b231afe4b0224d8831d45c


Subscribe in a reader

Filmmaker Abigail Disney shares her passion for documentary filmmaking

timthumbAbigail Disney is an American filmmaker most known for her socially themed documentaries. Disney’s directorial debut The Armor of Light is a documentary that follows the journey of an Evangelical minister (Reverend Rob Schenck) trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America.

In this podcast episode, Scarlett Shepard (Founder of the Women’s Film Institute) speaks with Abigail Disney about The Armor of Light as well as Disney’s passion for documentary filmmaking and filmmaking process. Disney offers her advice on filmmaker distribution and networking. She also discusses the available funding opportunities for full-length non-fiction films from her production company, Fork Films. Fork Films supports filmmaking projects that promote peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice with particular emphasis on those that bring women’s voices to the forefront.

More information about Fork Films: http://www.forkfilms.net/

Subscribe in a reader

Women in the Director’s Chair at this year’s 35th Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Women’s Film Institute is proud to be a community partner at this year’s 35th Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (July 23 – August 9).


Don’t miss feature documentary The Armor of Light, Abigail Disney’s directorial debut on Tuesday, Jul 28, at 6:30 PM in San Francisco.

It’s not easy to bring fresh light to the polarized debate on guns. But in her breathtaking directorial debut, Abigail Disney takes viewers far above the tired talking points of the NRA. Disney has serious film pedigree: Her grandfather Roy co-founded Disney Studios with his brother Walt. Her documentary is so riveting, some scenes feel straight out of a fiction film. Evangelical minister Schenck is familiar with challenging the status quo: He was raised Jewish, then became an evangelical as a teenager. He rose to prominence in the 1990s as a militant pro-life activist. But troubling encounters with gun violence forced him to ask whether a pro-life position could be consistent with pro-gun. Disney follows him as he explores these questions at gun shows and ministers with stand-your-ground opponents. He eventually teams with Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, an unarmed teenager murdered in Florida whose case has become a landmark in the fight against stand-your-ground laws. His new supporters surprise him as much as the vitriol of his old friends. It isn’t an overreach when Schenck notes parallels between increasing pro-gun extremism, rising gun violence and the Holocaust. As his father once told him, pointing to pictures of the camps, “This is what happens when good people say nothing.”

Director Abigail Disney and subject Lucy McBath in person in San Francisco and Palo Alto.  For more information and to purchase tickets: http://sfjff.org/2015/films/armor-of-light-the/

Don’t miss Blue Vinyl directed by Judith Helfand and Daniel Gold on Friday, July 31st, at 2:30 pm in San Francisco.

Activist filmmaker Judith Helfand, who explored the devastating effects of DES on her own body in A HEALTHY BABY GIRL (SFJFF 1997), is not one to look the other way when a potential toxin gets too close to home. So when her Jewish parents affix vinyl siding to their suburban Long Island abode she gets suspicious. Armed with a big blue slab from a home improvement project, Helfand marches straight to the centers of vinyl production to get the skinny on the seemingly harmless plastics, used to make not only cheap, durable siding but also flooring, toys, credit cards, IV bags, you name it. Taking a personal comedic approach, directors Helfand and Gold brilliantly link unlikely stories and characters across continents, race, and class to uncover the impact of vinyl manufacturing and disposal on the atmosphere, the food chain, and humans. It is not a pretty picture. You will never look at plastic the same way again. http://sfjff.org/2015/films/blue-vinyl/

Judith Helfand In Conversation on Saturday, Aug 1st, at 2:10 PM in Berkeley.
Judith Helfand is not just a filmmaker, she is a force of nature. She co-founded Working Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures supporting social justice filmmakers. Her award-winning films (including Healthy Baby Girl and Blue Vinyl) have premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS and HBO and garnered a Peabody Award. Join us for an onstage conversation and clip show (including her upcoming Cooked ) as we honor her tremendous contribution to the documentary field. For more information and to purchase tickets: http://sfjff.org/2015/events/judith-helfand-in-conversation/

Freedom of Expression: Lee Grant on Sunday, Aug 2nd, at 2:35 PM in San Francisco.


At the age of 25, Queens native Lee Grant (born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal) had it all. After studying at the prestigious Actors Studio, she became an acclaimed Broadway star, then quickly catapulted into international fame with both a Cannes Best Actress win and an Oscar nomination for her screen debut in William Wyler’s 1951 Detective Story. But in an instant it was over. After passionately accusing the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) of driving a blacklisted screenwriter friend to his death, Grant opened the notorious anticommunist rag Red Channels one day to discover that she had been branded a Communist subversive. Yet in the 1960s the actress beat the blacklist, first with the popular prime-time soap Peyton Place, followed by her second Oscar nomination in Norman Jewison’s 1967 Best Picture–winning In the Heat of the Night. Grant’s creative rebirth continued through the 1970s with another Oscar nomination for Hal Ashby’s The Landlord and her 1975 Best Supporting Actress win for Ashby and Warren Beatty’s celebrated LA comedy of manners Shampoo. In 1980, she directed her first feature Tell Me a Riddle based on Tillie Olsen’s novella. Grant holds nothing back in her live-to-tell memoir, I Said Yes to Everything, yet another achievement for this actress, director, producer and this year’s recipient of the SFJFF Freedom of Expression Award. – Thomas Logoreci

Lee Grant appears in person to accept her award and participate in an onstage discussion of her career in conjunction with a 35th anniversary screening of Tell Me a Riddle.

Following the screening of Tell Me A Riddle, join Lee Grant on the Mezzanine of the Castro. She will be signing copies of her memoir I Said Yes to Everything. For more information and to purchase tickets: http://sfjff.org/2015/events/freedom-of-expression-lee-grant/

More information about the SF Jewish Film Festival visit:

Subscribe in a reader